Why I Paint Automobiles
by Robert Hieronimus
This page includes several more photos of the VW bus I painted in 1968 for Bob Grimm of the band "Light" which he drove with Rick Peters, Trudy Morgul and Walt Bailey to the original Woodstock in 1969. I was heavily involved in my mural commissions and in founding the AUM Esoteric Study Center at that time, and decided not to attend this legendary concert. But the bright colors and occult symbols I had painted on the "Light" bus caught the attention of several photographers in attendance and images of this bus continue to pop up in retrospective articles, CD compilations and other promotional pieces about Woodstock. Many of these photos can be seen further down on this page.
My purpose for painting vehicles was to develop movable "billboards" carrying certain teachings linked to the ageless wisdom teachings, or the perennial philosophy. In 1968 I postponed a commission from Dr. Chester Wickwire to paint a mural on a wall in the second floor meeting room of Levering Hall of the Johns Hopkins University, which eventually became "The Apocalypse". Instead I began a very interesting summer of visiting backstage with Elektra recording artists Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and others who requested information on esoterica. In between I continued working on a series of commissions for "psychedelic" painted cars which were growing in popularity. I soon had my fill of backstage life with rock and roll legends and discussing with them earth changes, astrology, Atlantis, reincarnation, meditation, and UFOs, and in early August, 1968 began work on the Apocalypse mural at Johns Hopkins University.
But first I completed the "Light" bus that went to Woodstock without me. With hindsight it is interesting that the symbols I painted on this bus (or moving billboard) were very much in harmony with the theme of this powerful event. I have interpreted some of these symbols below.
(above) The Associated Press took this photo at Woodstock '69 of Ricky Peters and Trudy Morgul atop the bus "Light" painted by Bob Hieronimus. This photo and others like it showing the Hieronimus painted bus, are still used in retrospective Woodstock articles and CD compilations, like these below. The bus was owned & commissioned by musician Bob Grimm.
(above)Rolling Stone Magazine featured this photo the VW bus painted by Bob Hieronimus in their reporting about Woodstock, on September 20, 1969. In Nov. 14, 2002, the bus appeared in Rolling Stone magazines "Ultra Cool Cars" multipage feature.
(above) Bob Hieronimus's unused ticket to the original Woodstock, held on August 15,16,17, 1969.
(above) This Atlantic Records CD of Woodstock music featured a photo of the Hieronimus "Light" bus on their inside photo display (circled).
There is a story being told on the front of the bus if you look at the symbols. The nutshell version of the story is: As we enter the age of Aquarius humanity will once again become conscious of the builders and hierarchies of the universe by aligning themselves with the divine plan through cosmic vibration.
A galaxy of stars, the milky way, is a birthplace of life in the universe, below which is a pair of wings (spirit) surmounting a circled cross related to the four builders of the universe air, earth, fire and water. Below this is the serpent biting its tail (Orobouros=eternity) within which are eight circles containing the seven planets: Sun (higher or spiritual self); Saturn (karma); Jupiter (expansion of consciousness); Venus (harmony); Mars (activity); Mercury (mind); Moon (personality). The central circle is the heart (the cohesive force of the universe, Love).
Emanating from the left side of Orobouros is a hand holding an Egyptian Sistrum (cosmic vibration) and to the right is a fish swallowing cosmic vibrations from the urn of an unseen Aquarius, a symbol for first 10 degrees of Aquarius, "Piscis Austrailius" meaning the dissemination of spiritual teachings (waters from Aquarius) given to the multitudes (fish) assuring regeneration or a rebirth of soul consciousness.
Below the Orobouros is a UFO, representing extraterrestrials, inner-terrestrials, inner dimensionals and spiritual hierarchies of the universe.The Eagle Side
The USA (the Eagle) was established as a center of light (wisdom) which regenerates the planet through its past connections to the ancient Egyptian mystery schools freeing humanity to serve the divine plan.
The eagle is a higher symbol of Scorpio (rebirth and regeneration) whose opened wings shed "light". The pyramid symbolizes the mystery schools of ancient Egypt and elsewhere. The rising sun is the emergence and rebirth of the spirit, and the five pointed star is the victory of the intuitive mind over the four elements, which is indicative of the process of transformation or regeneration. Above the Eagle are a series of scripts: the hieroglyph reads "Destiny"; the Hebrew reads "Wisdom" and the alleged Atlantean script reads "Out of the darkness cometh the light."
(above) The "Eagle" side of Bob Grimm's VW bus "Light" painted by Bob Hieronimus.
(above)Musician Bob Grimm beside "Light" the Woodstock VW painted by Bob Hieronimus.
The mystery schools of the ancients (Egypt, India, Hebrews) taught the science of spirituality and how humanity can transform its physical consciousness into spiritual awareness, allowing humans to learn who and why they are here and their purpose on planet earth.
The Sphinx is spiritual conscious control (human head) over animal instincts (animal body). This is an Egyptian Sphinx with a circled trident on its rear flank suggesting its origin in the Atlantean mystery tradition, and a reference to a more ancient mystery school established by blue stele with a symbol of the legendary Mu or Lemuria between the Sphinx's paws. The Judaic mystery schools are symbolized by a series of six pointed stars behind the Sphinx. The green serpent beneath the Sphinx is that of the Wisdom of the 10 divine incarnations of Vishnu spoken of in ancient India's mystery tradition.
On and above the passenger door the green serpent's head is the symbol for Isis, the door to the Egyptian mysteries. Above this is written in Hebrew, taken from Sepher Yezirah (the book of Formation), are the words "Limitless Light". The grinning face you can see through the window belongs to the owner of the bus, composer and musician Bob Grimm.
When you combine the front and the two sides of the bus for a symbolic interpretation (a much simplified version) you can read that there are advanced beings in the universe in various dimensions that are assisting planet Earth's evolution towards cosmic consciousness. The Eagle side reveals that America was destined to lay the foundations that we are all earth people. The Sphinx side reveals the various influences that have supported America in attaining the goal of one people one planet.
Indeed while most people enjoyed the bus as a piece of "psychedelic" art, those with eyes to see and ears to hear realized that it carried the message of who we are and the purpose of life on planet earth: serving others as we evolve towards cosmic consciousness.
The "Sphinx" side of Bob Grimm's VW bus "Light" painted by Bob Hieronimus.
(above) Preliminary sketch for the "Sphinx" side of the "Light" bus painted by Bob Hieronimus and photographed on August 20, 1968.
by Fred Rasmussen, Sun Staff [the following is an excerpt from this article]
They were the unidentified Baltimore couple who were photographed atop a Volkswagen microbus painted in psychedelic colors, listening to the music during the Woodstock rock festival in August 1969.
Charles Richard "Ricky" Peters and fellow musician Trudy Cooper were photographed by an Associated Press photographer at the festival in a pasture in Bethel, NY.
Mr. Peters, a musician and composer who had worked since 1988 for Corporate Couriers delivering mortgage documents, died Saturday of liver failure at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 49 and a Parkville resident.
"I had painted the van for Bob Grimm, who at the time was a member of the Progressions, the band that Ricky started, and later went on to play with the Four Seasons," said Robert R. Hieronimus, Baltimore artist and radio personality.
"I think every newspaper and magazine in the U.S. used the picture at the time and never bothered to identify Ricky and Trudy. It still appears with Woodstock stories and is even featured on the inside of the Woodstock CD," he said.
Mr. Hieronimus said that the van was driven to high ground to escape the deep mud, and the couple sat on top to hear such legendary artists as Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sly and the Family Stone.
"They had the time of their life, and it remains Baltimore's most interesting contribution to Woodstock," Mr. Hieronimus said.
"He was, in my opinion, in those days the best drummer in Baltimore and was acclaimed for his singing and harmonizing," said Mr. Hieronimus. He said Mr. Peters was a "natural musician" who "operated on intuition and hunches."
Mr. Peters composed music, including "Buena Vista," named for the street on which he grew up and dedicated to his daughter, Rhonda Timmons of Baltimore. He later recorded the song for Epic Records.
"His music was very melodic, innocent and soft. The Beatles were an enormous influence," Mr. Hieronimus said.
Mr. Peters performed with Ms. Cooper and another former band member, Walt Bailey, while working for the courier service.
"His musical career was a struggle, and he was unwilling to compromise," said Mr. Hieronimus.
"Yet, he was the only musician I could sit around for hours with who didn't complain about his fate and the breaks that never came. Here was a man who never asked for anything and really lived his life by the Golden Rule," he said.